Tuesday, November 30, 2010

maiden voyage

I apologize in advance for this post, which promises to be no better than being forced to endure your Uncle Merv's vacation slides. Sadly, I am not not even likely to share Uncle Merv's characteristic wit and humor, because along with the bountiful family memories, stories of adventure, and copious amounts of laundry that I brought home from our weekend trip to the mountains, I also picked up a nasty head cold that has sucked away all evidence of intelligence that I might once have possessed. And by the way, why is it called a head cold? Where else would I have a cold, in my arse? Also, the Westy ate my glasses.   

Much like the pilgrims, except for that whole bit about after-supper murderizing, we embarked upon a voyage on the third weekend in November, giving thanks and celebrating with a feast. It was our maiden Westy voyage!

Our Westy is a champ of a dreamboat creampuff. I'm not just sayin' that. She tore that mountain road a new one, on her very own terms. It's not like anyone was timing us. 

On the first day, we arrived mid afternoon just as the sun was leaving our pretty campsite at Rancho Cuyamaca State Park.

We cooked up our first Westy meal

mmmmmm, soup

beware the ubiquitous big butt - where big butt is a verb

The second day was Thanksgiving!

Traditional Thanksgiving breakfast of apple jacks and bacon.

Then we embarked upon the trail that started just steps from our Westy door and opened up into a stunningly gorgeous world

They don't call it Green Valley for nuthin'

 And then in the afternoon, our great friends arrived in their RV mansion on wheels, and I began my study of stupid sideways portrait photography.

 We had a great meal, they brought everything that needed an oven, and we handled stovetop duty in the Westy.

so called adults

forgot to capture the kids' table while they were still at it, but there it is.

Oh, dear.

On Friday morning, we explored the water side of our lovely little valley. We found the great spot we remembered from last time we camped at Green Valley, but it was teeming with revelers so we did little more than spectate.
what's more fun than watching drunks jump into a freezing mountain river pool?
We didn't stay long, but we made definite plans to return the next day. We had to get back anyway, we were going to Leave Camp that day!

drama queens

It was a minor production to close up shop and get the Westy drivable, and then we headed a little further north to the town of Julian

Please go here and have a chicken pie turnover. It's worth the wait and the 5 pounds you'll gain.
 We were early enough that the wait for a classic Julian lunch was manageable, and we had ourselves yet another meal for the ages amidst the down home country decor.

 After lunch we did a little browsing in the shops along Main Street

A better mom would have said yes to these $45 hats 
Then we turned back toward our happy spot just as the enclave of tourists seeking a healthy dose of quaint made their way up the mountain from San Diego.

We got back in time to catch the last bit of warmth from the sun, up in what we called the Sunny Meadow 
mancala in the meadow

Saturday was our last day, but we were in no hurry to vacate the premises so we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast while making a strong fashion statement

That fire gave me black lung. Note to self: in the future, sit NEAR it, not IN it.

And then we went back to the waterfall, pleased to find that it was almost exclusively ours alone to enjoy

Heart attack central

A little something to calm my nerves

Late that afternoon, we packed up our Creampuff, our Champ, our Westy for the Ages, and we made our way home.

On the day we left, Ellie's wish for us was that the thing we would forget be minor. I like that. And it was! In fact, I don't even know that it was a forgotten item, more of a note to bring everyone their own chapstick next time. We had everything we needed, and then some. It was a minor inconvenience to blow our newly installed mac-daddy second battery and invertor on the first cold morning, rendering our electric coffee maker obsolete. We made do, we had propane to boil water and heat the Westy, and plenty of the comforts of a practically perfect home on the road. 

And so it begins....

Monday, November 29, 2010

"The holidays"

Thanksgiving is behind us, yet again, which leaves "the holidays" looming ahead. I still call it “Christmas,” but do try to be PC when in a group or in written correspondence because everyone knows that not everyone celebrates Christmas. But I mean, really, isn’t Christmas almost a secular holiday at this point?

It’s one huge marketing ploy, which seems to be intensifying every year. The words Black Friday and Cyber Monday are so prevalent, aren’t they? I could hardly believe how many Cyber Monday emails awaited me this very morning.

And it’s a bit scary how much the financial analysts rely on the amount of dollars spent during these two singular days to predict doom, gloom, or the nation’s modest financial recovery. Of course the ensuing days until December 25 are important as well. Get out there and spend, spend, spend is the message that I hear.

It’s all is a bit sickening; so much money spent on so much crap that so many people don’t really need.

I try to get on this train, I really do. And cognitively I’m there, I just wrote the sentence above and I do believe it. The season’s excess, frantic pace and downright gluttony don’t jive with my general values. But here is the truth: I enjoy “the holidays.” Quite a lot, actually.

I love Christmas cards. I know they are on their way out, like printed books and magazines, but we’ve got another decade, I’m guessing, and I plan to send and enjoy them each and every year until they’re extinct.

I love filling the stockings, I love selecting the perfect gift, I love the extra parties and spiked egg nog, and secret santas and the evening living room solely lit by the tiny white lights of the Christmas tree.

I love the traditions I’ve kept from my childhood and the new ones I’m forming with my own family.

It doesn’t make any sense, this thinking it’s all a material nightmare while feeling the holiday joy. How can I be disgusted while simultaneously engaging in, and downright enjoying, the season’s festivities and frivolity?

I'll take comfort in the realization that I can admit that I have a problem. I can cross step one off my list.

Cartoon by Randy Glasbergen: http://www.glasbergen.com/cartoon-blog/

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Weekend 3-Way: giving thanks

Ah, Thanksgiving....

First, get to where you're going

Second, cook (not pictured)

Third, eat and eat and eat (not pictured)

Fourth, clean up

Fifth, don't neglect the leftovers

Friday, November 26, 2010

Nailed it.

We did it. We hosted our first-ever Thanksgiving, and it was a smashing, unqualified, fabuloso success.

Words? We don't need no stinkin' words. Let's let the photos do the talking, shall we?

Thanks for a fabulous day Mom and Mumsie and Kelly and MB and MD and Ann and Julie and Erin and Joseph.

We'll see you next near!